How To Use A Shop Vac To Clean Broken Glass

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When a glass breaks, sharp little pieces and shards scatter across the room to unimaginable distances. Cleaning up broken glass is different from cleaning up most household accidents. Broken glass particles are dangerous, so you must clean this mess with ingenuity while observing safety precautions.

A shop vac is a powerful tool that can be used for different tasks, from removing broken glass particles to cleaning up wet spills. Before using a shop vac to clean broken glass, pick up the bigger glasses using a broom and dustpan to avoid damaging the vac. Wear safety gear when cleaning.

There are different ways to clean up glass particles, and a shop vac is an excellent option for removing these particles from your furniture, carpet, and other surfaces in the room. However, before you grab your shop vac to clean up the mess, here are things you need to know about cleaning broken glass:

What is a Shop Vac?

shop vac in a wood working shop

Also referred to as a bucket vacuum, a shop vac features a high-powered motor and a suction unit to suck up dirt and debris from surfaces. Its tough hose can suck up nails, wood chunks, metal pieces, and screws.

Shop vac features a big cylinder for holding debris and has wheels to help you navigate swiftly around any space. Although shop vac can be used for home cleaning, it’s built for woodworking shops and building sites.

How are Shop Vacs Different from Conventional Household Vacuums?

Shop vacs are built for heavy-duty performances and can comfortably suck up big pieces of debris. Home vacuums are meant for dirt, dust, and other little particles.

Shop vacs are bigger and bulkier than conventional vacuums. Their hoses are also bigger and tougher.

Shop Vacs: Pros and Cons

Here are the Pros and cons of using a shop vac:


  • Shop vacs are not easily clogged.
  • They can handle bigger and sharper objects than ordinary vacuums.
  • Shop vacs are more powerful than home vacs.
  • They can handle wet messes.


  • They are bulky, reducing maneuverability.
  • They don’t come with drapes, carpets, or other fabrics accessories.

What to Do Before Using a Shop Vac to Clean Broken Glasses

Prioritize your safety by ensuring you have the following items:

Here’s what to do before you vacuum up shattered glass particles:

Keep Kids Safe

Keep your kids and pets safe before you start to clean broken glass. If the kids are barefoot, ensure they put on some shoes immediately before you walk them away.

Hand Pick Bigger Pieces

Put on your safety gear (work gloves, safety shoes, and goggles), then gently sweep up the shattered pieces into a dustpan. Once done, put the pieces into a garbage bag. It’s not recommended to suck up big glass pieces, for they might damage your vacuum’s hose.

Use a Broom

Keep your hand safe by picking up large pieces of glass on the floor using a broom. This will make the process safe. Next, use a broom to sweep pieces into a dustpan and safely dispose of them in a trash bag.

Wipe the Surface Using a Wet Cloth

You can pick smaller pieces of glass using a wet cloth.

How Do You Use a Shop Vac to Clean Up Broken Glass?

shop vac over an image of broken glass

Please turn on your vac and ensure it’s in the highest setting. Using your vac on the highest setting helps eliminate small, sharp pieces of broken glass that you can’t see. Then, go to the area where the glass shattered.

Use a dry vac to clean up glass particles. Avoid using a vac used to clean up other types of dirt. Once done, empty your shop vac cleaner cylinder into a garbage bag and safely dispose of it.

Using a clean vac helps prevent broken glass particles from spreading in your home. A shop vac has a high suction power to pick up even tiny particles of broken glass safely and quickly.

How to Clean a Shop Vac After Picking Up Glass

As you use your vacuum to clean up the surface, its filter absorbs glass, dirt, and dust particles. A buildup of these elements can make your vac inefficient, which is why cleaning your vac after picking up the glass is essential.

Tools and Materials Needed

Cleaning Process

Step 1. Unplug from Power

The first step is to unplug your vac from the power source. While cleaning this vac is essential, not unplugging it from the power source may cause injuries.

Step 2: Disassemble Your Vac

The good thing about vacuum cleaners is that they are not complicated machines, and it’s easy to disassemble them to access the filter. First, remove the filter and place it in a big enough container.

Refer to the manufacturer’s manual if you need help disassembling this machine.

Step 3: Clean your Filter to Remove Glass Particles

It’s advisable to clean your filter outdoors, mainly if you use it to clean glass particles. Also, use safety glasses and mask to prevent glass particles and dirt from getting into nostrils and eyes.

Slap the filter on the cap’s bottom and sides until glass particles drop off. Repeat this action several times. Do this while turning it around until all glass particles and dust fall off.

Step 4: Use Air Compressor or Compressor Can Blow the Filter

Close your filter on both ends with the cap, and blow the filter using an air compressor.

The rod allows your filter to spin as air goes through the grooves. The high-speed air removes any remaining glass particles that didn’t fall off during tapping.

Stand upright to avoid blowing the glass particles directly into your face. If stubborn glass particles are inside the grooves, use a blunt-edged stick to rake them out.

Step 5: Reinstall the Filter

After completing steps one to four above, reinstall the filter. You can now expect your shop vac to perform efficiently.

Finish the Cleaning Area

Glass particles may cling to the dustpan or bristles of your broom. Take them out and carefully rinse them with a garden hose over a container. Dispose of this water down the drain.

Check your shoes’ bottom for any shards caught in the treads. Use paper towels or duct tape to remove any clinging shards.

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